SPECIAL REPORT: Greater Fort Lauderdale – Magnet For Biotech/Pharma Growth

Parallon headquarters in Sunrise will be expanded.

By Ed Felton 
From the September/October 2013 issue

Gov. Rick Scott recently announced that Venezuelan pharmaceutical company, Unipharma, LLC, will relocate from Venezuela and establish its headquarters in Tamarac. Unipharma will use state-of-the-art, proprietary technology to manufacture pharmaceuticals, functional foods and nutraceutical products at its newly renovated facility. The $50-million investment will create 100 jobs in Broward County.

Gov. Scott said, “We are excited to announce that Unipharma has chosen to locate their pharmaceutical headquarters in Broward County. Florida’s unemployment rate is below the national average and we’ve created more than 333,000 private-sector jobs since December 2010. The jobs being created by Unipharma are another example that IT’S WORKING in Florida.”

In addition to Greater Fort Lauderdale, other locations considered included Madrid, Spain and Atlanta, Georgia. The company cited Broward County‟s easy access to foreign markets via Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The company also noted, a growing life sciences cluster, the region‟s focus on contract manufacturing in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, and the ability to attract top talent due to quality of life as top advantages for relocation to Broward.

“We are happy to say that we have begun another chapter in our company‟s history with our new manufacturing site in Broward County. Our new facility will not only provide jobs for the local community, but it will support Florida‟s growing Life Science industry as well,” said Reinaldo Santa Marta, CEO of Unipharma.

“The life sciences industry in Florida continues to expand and Unipharma‟s decision to relocate here will certainly help our status in the sector,” said Gray Swoope, Secretary of Commerce and president & CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Florida has the resources necessary for international pharmaceutical companies to relocate here and we expect to see more foreign direct investment in the industry soon.”

Partner organizations include Enterprise Florida, the City of Tamarac, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development.

Life science companies like Unipharma are a powerful economic engine for the state’s economy. Over the past decade, Florida has leapt ahead of the competition to establish itself as the new location for life sciences innovation and industry growth. Florida is now home to world renowned biomedical research institutes. There are nearly 1,000 biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the sunshine state, and there is a foundation of more than 44,000 healthcare establishments in Florida.

Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance President and CEO Bob Swindell stated, “We are extremely pleased that Unipharma will locate its new international headquarters in Tamarac. The mission of the Alliance is to maintain and grow the presence of target industry companies in the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County area that can take advantage of our highly educated and diverse workforce, transportation access, and highly rated business and personal tax climate.”


Gov. Scott has announced that Actavis, Inc., a leading specialty pharmaceutical company formerly known as Watson Pharmaceuticals, plans to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing and warehousing facilities in Davie, resulting in the creation of 220 jobs.

The expansion will involve the construction of a 30,000-square-foot addition comprising approximately 16,700 square feet of pharmaceutical manufacturing space and 13,000 square feet of warehouse space. To increase production, the company will invest about $40.5 million at the Davie site, which will include the construction of the additional space as well as investment within its existing facility. Construction is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2013, with completion anticipated in one year and initiation of operations to follow.

The Davie facility is Actavis’ center for excellence for the manufacturing of immediate and extended release pharmaceuticals. Organizations that assisted the company in facilitating its expansion were Enterprise Florida Inc., Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, State of Florida and the Town of Davie.

“We are honored to have the support of the leaders of Town of Davie, Enterprise Florida and Governor Rick Scott as we continue to expand our presence in Florida. Actavis is proud to support Florida and [the] Town of Davie economy with skilled, pharmaceutical industry jobs, and we are committed to expansion of employment opportunities in the region,” said Paul Bisaro, president and CEO of Actavis, Inc. “In addition to Davie, we also have packaging and distribution functions in Sunrise, Florida and pharmaceutical research and development operations in Weston, Florida. Our Anda, Inc. division, the fourth largest distributor of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. is also located in Weston. In total, Actavis employs approximately 1,400 people in Florida.”

Bob Swindell shared Paul’s views from a county-wide perspective. “Actavis is one of Broward County’s leading employers and their expansion is a great indicator that our efforts to grow the important and strong South Florida life sciences cluster continues to pay off,” Swindell added.

Actavis has been approved for nearly $2.9 million in grants, tax refunds and employee training incentives (state and local) to support its expansion.

“Actavis’ choice to build its future in Broward County is a winner for Florida. It’s a testament to the strength of the local and state business climate,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope. “It’s also the outcome of a mutual vision for economic growth by local, regional, business and government partners.”

The Actavis Davie manufacturing facility, in operation since 1992, comprises manufacturing, warehouse, quality, engineering and shared services. The site manufactures about 2.2 billion units annually.

Nipro Diagnostics, Inc.—a leading manufacturer and marketer of blood glucose monitoring products and diabetes management supplies—has announced the acquisition of P.J. Noyes, a privately held New Hampshire-based manufacturer of OTC healthcare, personal care products, nutraceuticals, and dietary supplements.

“This strategic acquisition expands [our] capabilities, adds expertise, pipeline of formulations and expands our U.S.-based manufacturing. Our leadership position in blood glucose monitoring is the foundation of our ecosystem, including sharps, nutraceuticals, personal care products and dietary supplements. We are committed to supporting the health and wellness needs of an ever-growing diabetes population with high-quality, low-cost products,” said Scott Verner, president/ CEO of Nipro Diagnostics.


Parallon, a leading provider of healthcare business and operational services, today announced the expansion of the headquarters for its Workforce Solutions business unit in Sunrise.

Officials from the company and its location advisory consultant Ernst & Young LLP worked closely with the office of Florida Governor Rick Scott, Enterprise Florida, the City of Sunrise and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance CEO Council to craft state and local incentives that will result in the addition of 125 new well-paying jobs along with retaining approximately 160 existing Florida jobs. The company will lease an additional 23,000 square feet of space at its existing headquarters located at 1000 Sawgrass Parkway, bringing its overall space to 62,000 square feet. The state and local incentives from Florida and the City of Sunrise total $875,000 and consist of $625,000 from the Qualified Target Industries Tax Refund Program along with $125,000 from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund and $125,000 in a Direct Cash Incentive from the City of Sunrise for the hiring of Sunrise residents.

“Expanding our headquarters in Sunrise is a reflection of both our business growth and our commitment to the community,” said Brendan Courtney, president of Parallon’s Workforce Solutions business unit. “To serve more hospitals and healthcare organizations, it’s crucial that we are able to meet the increasing demand for high-quality healthcare staffing. We’re proud to bring new jobs to Sunrise and appreciate all the combined efforts of our partners.”